Thursday, December 08, 2005
Spur of the Moment
Still from the original silent version of Brokeback Mountain (1926)
Brokeback Mountain: The story of two shepherds who, instead of tending their flocks by night all seated on the ground, were back at the pup tent doing the beast with one back.
I got an advance look at this highly anticipated---ahem!---buddy flick last night on a video supplied by the film's distributors. But halfway through, I became so bored I was almost tempted to remove the traceable, watermarked DVD from the machine and put it up for sale on ebay and then sit back and watch the fun begin as the street outside my house filled up with video piracy police. THAT'S how bored I was. Like a glorified TASTEFUL version of Song of the Loon as directed by Martha Stewart.
And no wonder my attention strayed! There is only one (supposed) hot male-to-male action scene in the film. And on the copy I watched---on a new TV set---the scene was so dark (intentionally for this particular DVD?) that one could only guess what was going on. If the film is as commercially successful as it is touted to be, and the scene in question really is that tastefully beclouded, one can already hear Mr. and Mrs. Front Porch in mall cinemas all over America turning to one another and asking: "What's he a-doin' to him?" The only giveaway is the sound of a gob of spit qua lubricant hitting someone's hand (presumably Heath Ledger is the top)....KER-SPLATTT. And what my longtime saddle pal David Ehrenstein would like to know is, if these dudes had never before frolicked in the fields of sodom---as is tacitly implied---then how did Ledger know to do that? Sheep anyone?
Which brings up to the matter of the presumed straightness of both male leads---Ledger as "Ennis Del Mar" (!) and Jake Gyllenhaal as the aggressive bottom, "Jack Twist" (and turn). That being the case (and until I have pictures proving otherwise. . .), I half-suspected a disclaimer added to the end credits to the effect that "No heterosexuals were harmed during the making of this motion picture." Instead, all I got was Willie Nelson singing "He Was a Friend of Mine." I'll say!
These guys sneak off from their unsuspecting wives (that is until Jake's wife surreptitiously catches the two of them swapping spit. . .but that's another story) for an epic two-decades-long worth of fishing trips, in which nary a fish is caught and brought back home.
Every motion picture carries with it a freightload of ideological underpinnings. Even Scorchy with Connie Stevens. And while Bareback, er, Brokeback Mountain (sorry...couldn't help myself) in the final analysis will probably only set the cause of gay lib back a few minutes, still when it comes to that. . .every little bit hurts. The net result of Brokeback Mountain is a veritable Triumph of the Will of The Closet.
Joe Gage has nothing to worry about.
Opens wide---so to speak---after Christmas.
Posted by Bill Reed at 8:39 AM